Jeep Wrangler as tow vehicle? Thoughts?

TdubTdub Posts: 226 Baller
My lease is about up on my fourth F-150 and they have been outstanding trucks to tow our 2004 SN with a tandem trailer. I have always wanted a jeep to tool around with but was concerned that it would not work to tow the boat. Now that I don't see any long distance trips towing, I'm thinking a Wrangler with enough horsepower will be OK since we only tow the boat 10 miles to our lake. Any experiences or thoughts?



  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,142 Mega Baller
    Max tow capacity is 3500. Hard to believe you would be under that.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 1,330 Mega Baller
    I towed for a short time with a wrangler years ago. The main problem is the short wheelbase allows major “road walk”. Any abrupt movement of the steering wheel or slight crosswind and the boat will be swinging like a dog’s tail.

    The Jeep is fun, but not a good tow vehicle, even for short distances.
    If it was easy, they would call it wakeboarding.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,657 Mega Baller
    @oldjeep I have towed my Malibu Response LX with a 3500 pound tow vehicle for years. It works fine for getting the boat out of the water at our ramp which is pretty steep and for towing short distance. In the interest of full disclosure I tow my boat twice a year less than 5 miles each way and it is through local traffic so not at speed on the highway.

    I think the Jeep (better in a 4 door) would be fine for short towing but I wouldn't want to go very far with it.
    Mark Shaffer
  • igkyaigkya Posts: 515 Solid Baller
    Need to consider the terrain you'll be towing and launching the boat. I used my Wrangler (on occasion) to launch the boat. I had no issues pulling the boat out of the lake, but, one late summer day, as the water levels had dropped, the ramp was long and steep... the boat pulled the Jeep down the ramp.
  • jpwhitjpwhit Posts: 56 Baller
    I pulled my SN 200 short distances w/ a 2-door wrangler TJ. It worked fine as long as the trailer brakes worked perfectly.... My trailer brakes required constant attention to work perfectly. And by perfectly, I mean you can't back up the trailer without the wheels locking up when the backup override isn't on.

    When the trailer brakes didn't work perfectly, the boat would push the back end of the jeep around in any kind of hard stop. This was quite scary and dangerous. It's due to the very short wheelbase of the jeep.

    Power wasn't a problem, the jeep had plenty of power. This was with the 4L straight 6 and a 6-speed manual. If you're thinking about one of the newer 4-door wranglers with the longer wheelbase, I think it would be much better.
  • RichardDoaneRichardDoane Posts: 3,981 Mega Baller
    stick with the F150, it is a much better vehicle overall
    BallOfSpray Pacific Northwest Vice President of Event Management, aka "Zappy"
  • aupatkingaupatking Posts: 1,068 Mega Baller
    Anyone use the 4 door wranglers to tow? I’ve been wondering about that for a while
  • LoopSkiLoopSki Posts: 358 Crazy Baller
    I wanted one too. They had a beautiful lifted 4 door 2017 wrangler at the dealer . i researched and could not find anything that could boost the tow rating and no one recommended it .Also if you were in an accident , I was told insurance may not cover it by being over tow rating . I live on a ski lake and only tow a couple hundred yards so for the most part it would have been fine .But last year I did tow to a few tournaments and local public lakes .So Im glad I went with a Tacoma , should have gone bigger though .But love how the Tacoma drives.

  • BdeckerBdecker Posts: 254 Solid Baller
    edited April 2018
    I’ve towed with my TJ Unlimited and for a 10 mile trip I’d be comfortable, especially if you can avoid the highways. Mine actually has a 4K rating.

    I use low range on the ramp simply because it seems easier on the drivetrain. Definitely have a driver in the boat, and I wouldn’t try a super steep ramp.

    I have access to a number of superior tow vehicles and don’t move boats around that much. If that is similar to your situation, a Jeep is a lot of fun in the summer. Wouldn’t be my choice as a commuter though.

  • bigskieridahobigskieridaho Posts: 886 Crazy Baller
    I used my Jeep YJ to pull my boat out of the garage and onto the street. That’s all I needed to answer that question. I wouldn’t recommend using a Jeep for anything other than maybe a toy trailer.
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,142 Mega Baller
    @Bdecker - huh? A Cherokee frame? Cherokee was a uni-body, no frame. TJ unlimited was just a stretched wheelbase TJ with the same thin frame as the short wheelbase version. I've patched up so many of those frames at the back foot of the frame that I didn't like hooking up a towstrap to them.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • MuskokaKyMuskokaKy Posts: 275 Baller
    i have seen front ends lift while going up hill / pulling out of launch...all on 2 doors ( shorter wheelbase). stick with a truck!
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 2,904 Mega Baller
    @aupatking - I've pulled some empty trailers and a pair of jetskis using a wrangler rubicon that was lifted - definitely doesn't feel like a full sized truck. Speed of those things is pretty limited too, seems like 85 was a stretch
  • TdubTdub Posts: 226 Baller
    Thanks to all. That pretty much settles it. I'll stick with the F-150. I knew I would get some great info. Cheers. Tom
  • skihackerskihacker Posts: 237 Baller
    A buddy of mine used to pull an 04 sunsetter with a straight six manual wrangler, had enough power but the wheelbase made it a little iffy. It always looked funny from behind him: "what is that boat pushing down the highway??"
  • BradyBrady Posts: 1,057 Mega Baller
    edited April 2018
    @Tdub now that you have the “cute” toy out of your system and you are sticking with a truck, might I suggest a Ram 1500! A thourougly perfect vehicle and it has been proven that 7 out of 10 open or 55k rated users on this site prefer Ram as their vehicle of choice. Just sayin!
    I ski, therefore I am
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,142 Mega Baller
    X2 on bradys comment. Have 170k on my 09 and looking forward to a new 2019 next year.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • usaski1usaski1 Posts: 716 Crazy Baller
    I have a 2017 F150.. nice in every way.. except mechanically! 11k miles, and Ford is buying it back! Unbelievable. 45 days in the shop.. 6 months old! Probably going Chevy when I get my check from Ford.
    Mark Turner -- Water skiing changed my life forever.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 2,904 Mega Baller
    @usaski1 gal at my office having similar. Bought used from Ford. Calipers sticking 2x rear ends trans out for harsh shifts. Bunch of software tweaks. Truck feels like it sticks in 2nd gear then wham. Garbage.
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 346 Solid Baller
    @usaski1 you will find that kind of stuff happens with Chevy, Ford, Dodge, Toyota... It's mechanical and duds come out from all factories. My dad's Tundra had lots of problems. It's a dice roll every time you buy a car/truck.
  • shansen345shansen345 Posts: 180 Baller
    edited April 2018
    The Wrangler has enough power to pull, but it's still only rated to tow 3500 lbs. I'm pretty sure it's a suspension and wheelbase issue.
    I would advise not using one as a ski boat tow rig. They're cool trucks, though.
    Stick with an F150 or something of similar size/rating.
  • TdubTdub Posts: 226 Baller
    I have always had great luck with the F-150's. Never a problem. That being said, the Jeep idea is toast. Besides, I like sitting on the tailgate drinking beers after a session at our lake.
  • RAWSkiRAWSki Posts: 511 Crazy Baller
    Agree the wrangler is fine for towing utility and maybe jet ski trailers but just isn't designed for larger boats. My Cherokee with the V6 and tow package does a adequate job but doesn't compare to the ease of towing with my previous Grand Cherokee or a full size PU.
  • swc5150swc5150 Posts: 2,025 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I've been burned by the big 3 way too many times. Finally went Tundra, and couldn't be happier. To each their own happiness though. Glad you're deciding against the Wrangler for towing.
    Scott Calderwood
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